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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 16
Verse 16. The cup of blessing which we bless. The design of this verse and the following verses seems to be, to prove that Christians, by partaking of the Lord's Supper, are solemnly set apart to the service of the Lord Jesus; that they acknowledge him as their Lord, and dedicate themselves to him; and that, as they could not and ought not to be devoted to idols and to the Lord Jesus at the same time, so they ought not to participate in the feasts in honour of idols, or in the celebrations in which idolaters would be engaged. 1 Co 10:21. He states therefore,
(2.) That this was true of the Israelites, that they were one people, devoted by the service of the altar to the same God, 1 Co 10:18.
(3.) That though an idol was nothing, yet the heathen actually sacrificed to devils, and Christians ought not to partake with them, 1 Co 10:19-21. The phrase, "cup of blessing," evidently refers to the wine used in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. It is called "the cup of blessing" because over it Christians praise or bless God for his mercy in providing redemption. It is not because it is the means of conveying a blessing to the souls of those who partake of it—though that is true—but because thanksgiving, blessing, and praise were rendered to God in the celebration, for the benefits of redemption. See Barnes "Mt 26:26"
Or it may mean, in accordance with a well-known Hebraism, the blessed cup; the cup that is blessed. This is the more literal interpretation; and it is adopted by Calvin, Beza, Doddridge, and others.
Which we bless. Grotius, Macknight, Vetablus, Bloomfield, and many of the Fathers suppose that this means, "over which we bless God;" or, "for which we bless God." But this is to do violence to the passage. The more obvious signification is, that there is a sense in which it may be said that the cup is blessed, and that by prayer and praise it is set apart and rendered in some sense sacred to the purposes of religion. It cannot mean that the cup has undergone any physical change, or that the wine is anything but wine; but that it has been solemnly set apart to the service of religion, and by prayer and praise designated to be used for the purpose of commemorating the Saviour's love. That may be said to be blessed which is set apart to a sacred use, (Ge 2:3; Ex 20:11;) and in this sense the cup may be said to be blessed. See Lu 9:16: "And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed THEM," etc. Comp. Ge 14:9; 27:23,33,41; 28:1; Le 9:22,23; 2 Sa 6:18; 1 Ki 8:14.
Is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? Is it not the emblem by which the blood of Christ is exhibited, and the means by which our union through that blood is exhibited? Is it not the means by which we express our attachment to him as Christians; showing our union to him and to each other; and showing that we partake in common of the benefits of his blood? The main idea is, that by partaking of this cup they showed that they were united to him and to each other; and that they should regard themselves as set apart to him. We have communion with one, (koinwnia, that which is in common, that which pertains to all, that which evinces fellowship,) when we partake together; when all have an equal right, and all share alike; when the same benefits or the same obligations are extended to all. And the sense here is, that Christians partake alike in the benefits of the blood of Christ; they share the same blessings; and they express this together, and in common, when they partake of the communion.
The bread, etc. In the communion. It shows, since we all partake of it, that we share alike in the benefits which are imparted by means of the broken body of the Redeemer. In like manner it is implied, that if Christians should partake with idolaters in the feasts offered in honour of idols, that they would be regarded as partaking with them in the services of idols, or as united to them, and therefore such participation was improper.
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